Winterizing Your Seasonal Water System

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes

Nobody wants to return home to find their pipes have burst. Take the necessary time to inspect the building’s plumbing and identify the pipes that are most susceptible to freezing. Pipes built near unheated spaces, uninsulated pipes, and pipes located outside walls and windows are all at high risk of freezing. 

Address these riskier areas by either properly treating them through recommended winterization processes (if the home is seasonal) or prevent the chances of pipes freezing at all by fixing potential problem areas. 

Be sure to follow these tips:

  • Insulate pipes using insulation sleeves, wrapping, or slip-on foam pipe insulation. Cold air might impact the pipe in these openings, so don’t leave any gaps without insulation. Water pipes made of plastic are more resistant to freezing than those made of copper or steel.
  • Inspect the property’s exterior to ensure that all obvious gaps have been sealed. Cold air can enter through cracks and cause pipes to freeze once inside. If noticeable cracks are discovered, fill the spaces with caulking or spray foam.
  • Maintain a dripping faucet to allow water to circulate freely and constantly, preventing it from freezing.
  • Ensure crawl spaces are adequately insulated. Using cardboard or wood, block all vents that lead outdoors.
  • Monitor hose bibbs. Hose bibbs are frequently left unattended, resulting in leaky pipes in the middle of the night. Drain hose bibbs and cover them to keep them warm. Deactivate the bibs at the shutoff valve once this is done.
  • Use heat tape. One of the most popular techniques for winterizing plumbing is heat tape, but be aware that it may pose additional risks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States has issued safety guidelines for homes who use heat tapes to help prevent fires.
  • Keep pipes warm by maintaining a heat source inside the building.

Preparing for Winterization

Start by making a plumbing winterization strategy. It’s easy to overlook a step, so make a note of all the plumbing components in your home, including all taps and valves, and then follow the recommendations below. Mark off the steps as you finish them so you know you’ve completed everything required and won’t be caught off guard when the weather turns cold.

Steps for Winterizing Your Plumbing

  1. Turn off the main water valve, then the water heater and the water pump. When there is no water inside the tank, it protects the heating elements in the water heater.
  2. All drain and faucet valves should be opened. A closed tap may generate a vacuum, trapping water in pipes. During the winter, keep all valves and taps open.
  3. Excess water is blown out of the pipes using air compressors.
  4. Allow your hot water tank to drain until it is completely empty by opening the drain valve. Keep in mind that these hot water tanks don’t often have floor drains, so you’ll have to attach a garden hose to them.
  5. Drain any remaining water in the holding tank, particularly the one in the rubber diaphragm, which is utilized in conjunction with the water tank to develop pressure. Antifreeze should be added to the jet pump case as an extra precaution.
  6. Flush toilets to get as much water out of the tanks and toilet bowls as possible. If all of the water cannot be evacuated, use antifreeze to keep the toilet from freezing and cracking.
  7. Drain traps may be included in some sink and tub drains. To prevent water from freezing and cracking in the traps, add some antifreeze to each of them.

Winterize Your Water Well Pump 

Prevent your well water pump from freezing by winterizing it. Ice expands when it freezes and as the ice seeks additional space to spread, it cracks the pump’s casing, causing the system to fail.

The water pump is less likely to freeze if you have a deep well. Shallow wells, ponds, and fountains, on the other hand, must be safeguarded during the winter. You don’t want your surface water pumps to freeze under any circumstances.

Even in year-round homes, if a water pump is kept inactive for too long, it might freeze. Water pumps freeze quickly in particular areas here in the Northeast. Keeping the system warm (hot showers, baths, washing on warm, and leaving the water running at a slow drip when you’re gone for lengthy periods of time) may typically keep the freeze at bay. 

How To Winterize Your Water Well Pump

  • Turn off the power source to the pump.
  • Drain any remaining water to the pump by opening a faucet, which will also alleviate pressure in the system. 
  • Disconnect draining pipes and other units from the pump to ensure that all water is properly drained. Any remaining water left inside the pump could freeze and cause interior damage.
  • Blow out any remaining water with an air compressor.

Check out the following walkthrough videos to see various winterization processes in action

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